UK businesses heard from keynote speakers about opportunities in specific sectors and in the Sri Lankan market as a whole when the British High Commission in Colombo hosted a virtual showcase of Sri Lankan trade and investment opportunities.

Participants also learned from UK businesses already operating in Sri Lanka at the event held on Thursday.

The session was a part of a two-week Department for International Trade UK-South Asia virtual roadshow from 2–12 November, the British HC said in a news release.

British High Commissioner Sarah Hulton in her opening remarks said:

“We continue to have a high level of ambition for the future of bilateral trade between the UK and Sri Lanka. We are keen to explore and support new opportunities for UK companies and see bilateral trade as an engine for sustainable growth for the mutual prosperity of both nations.”

Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Finance & Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal said Sri Lanka sees the UK as being one of its key partners.

"They have been partners with us for a long time. We have seen a large amount of investment, there are more than 100 companies that you can see here in operation from Great Britain. Those are the anchors that we can use to move forward with the trade and investment partnerships that we want to establish between our two countries. We also see the UK playing the role of a distributor of investment. The UK is a huge hub in the world which we need to access and move towards others through the UK," he said.

Minister for International Trade shared his thoughts with British businesses about furthering the trading relationship with Sri Lanka:

“COVID-19, and the rising tide of protectionism it has brought with it, have got the global economy on the rocks, so we need all hands on deck to nudge the ship of global commerce back on course. Key to that success will be keeping trade flowing, and developing strong trading relationships at all levels. That’s why it’s more important than ever to engage with friends around the world, explore new markets and embrace the golden opportunities we discover with ambitious countries like Sri Lanka. I will be working closely with the Government of Sri Lanka on tearing down trade barriers, simplifying our trading relationship, and creating new, exciting openings for our hardworking businesses.”

Titled ‘Sri Lanka: The gateway to Asia’ the panel of speakers included British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Sarah Hulton; UK’s Minister for International Trade Ranil Jayawardena MP, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Sri Lanka Lord Davies of Abersoch; Sri Lanka State Minister of Finance & Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms  Ajith Nivard Cabraal;  Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK Saroja Sirisena; Board of Investment of Sri Lanka’s Director General Sanjaya Mohottala; Head of Strategy & Business Development at CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd Thulci Aluwihare; Senior Advisor to CEO of the Hambantota International Port Group Saliya Wickramasuriya ;CEO of HSBC Sri Lanka Mark Prothero; Group Head of Operations, Corporate Functions of the London Stock Exchange Group Dee Liyanwela; and Managing Director Currency Division of De La Rue plc Ruth Euling.